World hip hop

World hip hop

Hip hop music was primarily limited to its country of origin, the United States, until the mid 1980s, at which point it reached into other countries and continents until its presence was worldwide. Along with the music spread the culture.

World hip-hop emerged as the genre traveled outside the US and became evolved and localized to the distinct culture of the nation it arrived in. Ian Condry divides the evolution of hip hop into three phases. In his book, Hip-Hop Japan, Condry states the first phase is the imitation of American hip hop. [Condry, Ian. Hip-Hop Japan. Durham and London: Duke University, 2006. ] This is followed by a commercial breakthrough during which the music becomes more marketed and mainstream. Using Japan as an example, hip hop maintained underground popularity in nightclubs for years until the late nineties when it became commercialized and integrated into the country’s pop music. [Condry, Ian. Hip-Hop Japan. Durham and London: Duke University, 2006. ] Once hip hop has achieved a commercial breakthrough, it typically develops some sort of local identity and authenticity specific to each region of popularity. However, Condry makes the argument that in Japan and other hip hop scenes, this development may not be a simple convergence into one sub-genre. [Condry, Ian. Hip-Hop Japan. Durham and London: Duke University, 2006. ] The music can become increasingly Americanized or it can reflect the traditional identity of the local music scene. Therefore, the path of the globalization of hip hop is actually widening and diversifying as the genre travels to more and more locations outside the US. As an article in BBC News noted about hip hop in Japan, the secret to hip hop’s success is artists “doing their own thing” as opposed to simply copying their US counterparts. [Yo Takatsuki. “Japan grows its own hip-hop.” BBC News. 17 Dec. 2003.] The genre’s success should be attributed to its diversification across the globe.

The following list chronicles hip-hop music and culture in countries other than America.

North America

United States


North of the U.S. border, in Canada, (although Canada had hip hop music right from the early days of the scene) it became popular thanks to home-grown rap artist Maestro Fresh Wes in the 1980s. His single, "Let Your Backbone slide", dominated the charts for over a year. In the early '90s, more artists such as Michie Mee and the Rascalz established themselves in the growing Canadian urban music scene, primarily located in the diverse backdrop of Toronto and Vancouver. More recently, rappers such as Choclair, Swollen Members, Saukrates, Kardinal Offishall, Sweatshop Union, Classified, Hugh "MC Son" Ryan, Black Jays, Jelleestone and k-os have become household names in the Canadian urban music scene, although they have failed to earn mainstream recognition south of the border in the U.S. market. The Somali-Canadian hiphop artist K'naan, with his distinctive use of both Somali- and English-language texts, has earned considerable celebrity in Canada, Europe and elsewhere. The eclectic, country-influenced underground hip hop of Buck 65 has also achieved considerable international success. Burnaby, B.C. has also produced Capone Tha Don underground rapper expected to release an album in mid or late 2008.


South America

In Puerto Rico, Vico C became the first mainstream Spanish language rapper, and his recorded work was the beginning of what became known as reggaeton. Rap in Puerto Rico was at a popular high in 1989, when Vico C entered the charts with his super hit "La Recta Final (The Final Stretch)", which gave him worldwide fame.

During the diversification of hip hop in the 1990s, Proyecto Uno popularized this Genre in the New York City Area, especially in the Latino community which gave birth to merenrap, in the Dominican Republic, a fusion of hip hop and merengue.. Santi Y Sus Duendes and Lisa M released a single ("Soy Chiquito & No Inventes Papito, No Inventes)").

In Mexico, popular hip hop began with the success of Calo in the early 1990s. Later in the decade, with Latin rap groups like Cypress Hill on the American charts, Mexican rap rock groups, such as Control Machete, rose to prominence in their native land.

And with the success of groups such as Cypress Hill who popularised the hip hop and rap culture throughout Latin America. Groups such as the Chilean Tiro De Gracia began to form, whom enjoyed widespread popularity not just in Chile, but in Peru, Colombia, Mexico and Puerto Rico.

An annual Cuban hip hop concert held at Alamar in Havana helped to popularize Cuban hip hop, beginning in 1995. Hip hop grew steadily more popular in Cuba, due to official governmental support for musicians.

Hip hop has become increasingly popular in Brazil in the last 20 years. The b-boys and girls, DJs, rappers, and graffiti writers have traditionally organized themselves into what they call crews, which also perform community service and work to organize young people in their neighborhoods to pass on the art and social consciousness.


European hip hop is hip hop music created by European musicians. Hip hop is a style of music which came into existence in the United States during the mid-1970s, and became a large part of modern pop culture during the late 1980s.


In Asia, the Philippines is said to have developed the first hip hop scene in all of Asia and the Pacific islands.Fact|date=February 2007 The birth of Filipino hip hop music, or Pinoy Rap, occurred in the early 1980s with songs by Dyords Javier ("Na Onseng Delight") and Vincent Dafalong ("Nunal"). The genre developed slowly during the 1980s but soon hit the mainstream with Francis Magalona's debut album, Yo! which included the nationalistic hit "Mga Kababayan" (My countrymen). Magalona, who rapped in both English and Tagalog became a pioneer in the genre and a superstar as a result. Mainstream stars rose to prominence in the Philippines, led by Michael V., Rap Asia, MC Lara and Lady Diane, and in Japan, where underground rappers had previously found a limited audience, and popular teen idols brought a style called J-rap to the top of the charts in the middle of the 1990s.

Filipino hip-hop is spearheaded by the Filipino hip-hop scene in the Philippines and the Filipino Americans in the US, and to a lesser degrees among the numerous Filipino expat communities in the rest of the world. Perhaps one of the most successful mainstream Filipino rappers is the Black Eyed Peas's, who has released songs such as "The Apl Song" (Elephunk) and "Bebot" (Monkey Business), which not only contained Filipino (Tagalog) lyrics but also native Filipino musical elements and Filipino Artists. Pineda has also founded his own record label, Los Angeles-based Jeepney Music, to help discover and promote Filipino hip-hop talent from both the United States and the Philippines as the musician frequents the Philippines and the US all the time. Filipino DJs in the Los Angeles area are regarded as amongst the most successful abroad and well-respected by critics.

Last August 3, 2008 the dance group Philippine All Stars won the title at the 2008 World Hip-Hop Championship in Las Vegas, Nevada. With more than 1,000 dancers from 33 countries took part in the annual competition. Three judges, one of them former rap star MC Hammer, reportedly gave the All Stars an aggregate score of 8.94 — 5.35 of which was credited to the group’s “infusion of artistic steps in its choreography.

The 15-member All Stars has just clinched the top prize at the 2nd International Hip-Hop Open in Italy, and likewise bagged the gold at the 5th World Hip-Hop Championship held in Redondo Beach, California.

Filipino hip-hop artists are well-known and valued for its creativity worldwide and has earned the respect of the industry internationally. With a truly multicultural society, the hip hop scene, like the rest of the Philippine music scene is an eclectic mix of Filipino, Spanish, American, Chinese and Malay influences that sets itself distinctly apart from the rest of hip hop scene in Asia, a truly pioneering spirit in the entire Asian region- more than a cultural phenomenon- but in fact a testament to a truly multicultural society like the Philippines.

In Seoul, the Korean hip hop scene has expanded into a form of cultural phenomenon. Some fans assert that Korean hip hop artists possess skills that can rival their U.S. counterparts. Notable performers include Jo PD, Drunken Tiger, Psy, and Epik High. Some suggest that Korean hip hop music firmly stands as the respectable and socially-conscious antithesis to an often superficial and confused pop genre that pervades the Korean music industry.

Hip hop music started gaining popularity in South Korea in the mid-1990s. Famous mainstream Korean hip hop performers often resemble R&B or pop music with artists mimicking the vocal (and dance) styles of rap acts from the United States. Early performers—who rarely penned their own songs—included Kim Gun Mo, Seo Taiji and Boys, Deux, and DJ DOC. The Korean language was initially used almost exclusively, unlike modern Korean hip hop songs that heavily incorporates English. Seo Taiji, coming from an adolescent background in heavy metal, often featured heavy metal guitars in his mixes, and other artists also incorporated techno influences.

A few artists, including Seo Taiji and MC Sniper, also incorporated influences from traditional Korean music such as pansori or nongak (farmers' music). It was evident that the first acts were mimicking popular American acts. For instance, Seo Taiji's "Come Back Home" has vocal/production style resembling Cypress Hill. The first "rap" album that featured rap in every track was Kim Jin Pyo's first album in 1997. According to Epik High's rapper Tablo, "The form [of Korean Hip Hop] , at least, has definitely been mastered now — the beats, the rhymes, the performances, the look — it’s indistinguishable from the United States scene. The social relevance, however, has a long way to go. The message is slowly catching up to the medium."

Thailand is a relative newcomer in the Hip Hop scene but has gained International recognition as the home base for Los Angeles Hip Hop group 4Dub. 4Dub which includes former Gfunk 1st Lady Jah Skillz has already gained an incredible US and European Internet following even before the release of their first album. 4Dub also includes Hydro a convicted drug felon from N.C. who relocated to the west coast to escape his troubled past in the south. Rounding out the 4Dub trio is Shomori Pass who is Thai and also highly considered to be one of the best Asian emcees in Hip Hop.

Many rap artists have been successful in the mainstream of Korean music. These include performers such as Jinusean, 1TYM, MC Sniper, Jo PD, and Epik High. Other lesser known underground artists who focus mainly on using non-flashy beats and lyrical skill include Quiett, PaloAlto, TBNY, etc.

Korean American hip hop began in the United States in the mid 1990s, mainly attributed to the efforts of the Korean rapper duo Tiger JK and DJ Shine of Drunken Tiger. Drunken Tiger was created after the song "Black Korea" by Ice Cube and used music as a means of cultural exchange and as an attempt to promote racial harmony. Following the success of Drunken Tiger, many new groups and production companies emerged to further popularize the musical style. In order to represent the elite group of Korea's best rappers, Tiger JK and Drunken Tiger formed The Movement Crew (Bobby Kim, Drunken Tiger, Eun Ji-Won and Tasha Reid).

Japanese hip hop (nip hop or j-hip hop) is said to have begun in 1983 when Charlie Ahearn's Wild Style was shown in Tokyo. The movie focused on graffiti artists but also featured some early old school MCs like Busy Bee and Double Trouble, DJs like Grandmaster Flash and breakdancers like the Rock Steady Crew.

Following the showing, street musicians began to breakdance in Yoyogi Park. Crazy A soon emerged as a prominent b-boy, and he eventually founded the Rock Steady Crew Japan, while DJ Krush has become a world-renowned DJ after arising from the Yoyogi Park scene. More DJs followed, beginning in 1985. A year later, an all hip hop club opened in Shibuya. There was some hesitation at the time that the Japanese language, due to the lack of stress accents and highly variable verb endings, might prove unsuited for rapping. A few rappers emerged, however, including Ito Seiko, Chikado Haruo, Tinnie Punx and Takagi Kan.

In the 1990s, teen-oriented J rap music appeared, and hip hop entered the Japanese mainstream. The first hit was Scha Dara Parr's "Kon'ya wa Boogie Back". The following year saw "Da.Yo.Ne." and "Maicca" by East End X Yuri go platinum. Lately hip-hop in Japan has split into two forms: normal, "hardcore" Japanese hip hop, and the somewhat "weaker", more R&B influenced J-Urban. The group most commonly cited as the originator of J-Urban music is the group m-flo (AKA "mediarite flo). Originally composed of a single Japanese DJ (DJ Taku) and a single Korean-Japanese emcee (Verbal), they combined with a singer named LISA who is of Peruvian-Japanese descent. Their debut album, Planet Shining was released in 2000, and since then, many J-Urban acts such as Crystal Kay, AI, Heartsdales, and even collaborations with popstars like Namie Amuro and BoA. Other popular J-Urban acts like RIP SLYME have worked with m-flo.

Starting in the late 1990s, hip hop began gaining greater popularity in Greater China, beginning in Hong Kong and Taiwan, and eventually spreading to the Mainland. Taiwanese rapper MC Hot Dog gained stature with his creative beats, off-kilter flow, and vulgar depiction of life for disaffected middle class youth in the island nation. The hip hop collective Lazy Motherfucker, representing Hong Kong, have often been described as the Chinese Wu-Tang Clan given the large size of the group and their ill flow. However, frequent aesthetic misappropriations and shiny pop stylings have often left underground heads wanting.

It was hard for Asian hip-hop artists to break into the mainstream in the United States, but in 2002 Chinese-American rapper Jin Au-Yeung (better known as just Jin or Jin Tha Emcee), created a buzz. He won Freestyle Friday seven consecutive weeks on BET's 106 & Park, a show dedicated to hip-hop, and was retired. Jin announced he had signed with the label Ruff Ryders after he won the battle on his final week. This was a breakthrough for Asian-American artists, as he garnished much attention. Two years later, he released an album under Virgin/Ruff Ryder titled "The Rest Is History". Jin became the first Asian-American to put out a solo album on the mainstream, though the album was not successful. Many hip hop lovers believe this was because of a lack of promotion as well as the album being pushed back seven months.

Middle East

Israel's hip hop grew greatly in popularity at the end of the decade, with several stars emerging from both sides of the Palestinian (Tamer Nafer) and Jewish (Subliminal) divide; though some, like Mook E., preached peace and tolerance, others expressed nationalist and violent sentiments.However currently hip hop music is very popular in Iran, with more than 100s of rappers and rap bands a similar situation to the east side, Westside situation is slowly forming. Zedbazi is seen as one of the best groups with songs that have had more than 8 million downloads.


Australian hip hop all started from the influence of American hip hop through mass media.cite web |url=,38,3,454 |title=Hip Hop – a way of life |last=Kalantzis-Cope |first=Phillip |date=2002-09-19 |accessdate=2008-04-10] One particularly video that sparked the spread of hip hop was "Buffalo Gal" by Malcolm McLaren. Through breakdancing and graffiti, Australian youth soon followed pursuit. It was not later on that the song "16 tons" by Mighty Big Crime strengthened the hip hop genre in Australia. Sound Unlimited Posse was another group that took over the hip hop scene in Autralia from the 1980s till 1994. They rapped about crimes, violence, and impoverished neighborhoods in Australia. Using hip hop as a form to express themselves, they talk about the everyday problems in their lives. However, later on, the group split apart and hip ho began to decline. Nevertheless, thanks to underground hip hop groups, hip hop revived and became a new phenemonon.Maxwell, Ian. "Sydney Stylee: Hip-Hop Down Under Comin' Up." In Global Noise: Rap and Hip-Hop Outside the USA, ed. Tony Mitchell, 259-79. Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 2001. ] Support from radio stations (especially influential youth radio station Triple J) and the induction of an Urban Award to the annual ARIA Music Awards were part of a confluence of events that led to South Australian outfit Hilltop Hoods' fourth album, "The Hard Road", debuting at #1 on the official Australian album charts in 2006. It was the first album in the history of Australian hip hop to do so, and has proved to be a massive breakthrough for the genre and its acceptance into popular culture. Despite its rising popularity, Australian hip hop remains embedded in the independent music scene. The Hilltop Hoods are the nation's most successful act, and are distributed by Obese Records, Australia's largest independent hip hop label. Other prominent Australian hip hop artists include The Herd, Bliss n Eso, Lyrical Commission, Pegz and TZU.

Originally highly derivative from American hip hop, a distinctive local style has developed in Australian hip hop since the 1990s. Australian hip hop often comments on national identity and politics. One Butterfingers tracks takes an obvious dig at the West side egoism (American west coast hip hop), "I'm from the Ipa-switch side of town, don't forget to write it down (West side!) What the fuck? It ain't Gangster rap! Think you're tougher, then you probably suffer wanker's cramp, and I'll thank you to fuck right off — professional fuckwits, take one night off". [ 1]

Australian hip hop made a name for itself in the American scene, when in 2005, MC Justice from Melbourne won the freestyle battle in the highly coveted Scribble Jam event. The world Jump Off rap battles also featured teams of emcees from Melbourne, featuring Anecdote, who made it to the finals in America.

Many Australian artists are now collaborating with American emcees, with the most famous being Celph Titled from the Demigodz teaming up with Lyrical Commission. Mystro and Skinnyman from the UK have also featured with Australian emcees.

Australin hip hop is now at a world standard, and various artists have proven that they can equal or even exceed the skills of the American counterparts.

New Zealand

New Zealand hip hop scene has an unwritten, though generally apparent rivalry with its Australian counterpart. This rivalry is highlighted by the annual (but discontinued) "Australia Vs New Zealand: MC Battle For Supremacy".

Many of New Zealand's biggest hip hop stars are Māori or Pacific Islander. Artists from the 1990s onward included Savage, Che Fu, Nesian Mystik and Scribe, who became the first to top both the single and album charts at the same time in 2004, and also the most famous acts associated with the biggest record producer in the field, P-Money. Some of New Zealand's up and coming hip hop artists include PNC, Frontline, Tyna and Dei Hamo.

Aforementioned Tyna is noted as a battle rapper and represented New Zealand as part of their 8-man team for Out4Fames' 2004 Australia Vs New Zealand: MC Battle For Supremacy. He was knocked out of the competition by Australia's MC Anecdote, who went on to win Australia's second (of three) consecutive wins in the annual (though now defunct) tournament.

However New Zealand hip hop is often frowned upon by some locals due to the frequent use of American accents


In the early part of the decade, breakdancing became the first aspect of hip hop culture to reach South Africa, where the crew Black Noise established the practice before beginning to rap later in the decade. Black Noise's raps, starting in 1989, provoked a ban by the apartheid-era government, which lasted until 1993. Later, South Africa produced its own distinctive style in the house fusion Kwaito.

Elsewhere in Africa, Senegalese mbalax fusions continued to grow in popularity, while Tanzanian Bongo Flava crews like X-Plastaz combined hip hop with taarab, filmi and other styles without forgetting the congolese Makoma. Algerian music, however, takes a more different approach by mixing their traditional music with more of a modern hip hop beat to it. Interestingly, the traditional music is named Rai, which is mostly a "love" themed music. Rai, formed in the 1920s, mixes rural and cabaret musical genres. As time went on, the music became more widespread, instead of focusing on Algerian peasants and workers. Moreover, one particularly new event in Rai music is the increase in women allowed to sing. For example, Rai artist Chaba Zahouania is a popular female artist known to sing Rai publicly around Algeria. Due to her sex of being a female, traditional society does not tolerate this in Algeria resulting in oppression of female artists. [Gross, Joan, David McMurray,and Ted Swedenburg. "Arab Noise and Ramadan Nights: Rai, Rap, and Franco-Maghrebi Identities." Diaspora 3:1 (1994)] Nevertheless, female artists are increasingly singing to Rai as producers are encouraging a mix of people to sing. [cite web| author=Angelica DeAngelis and Maria Ran | url=| title= Islam and Masculinity in Maghrebi Transnational Identity| accessdate=2008-03-18]


* [ AfricasGateway] - International hip hop portal focused on African hip hop
* [ INRAP.RU] - Huge Russian based Hip-Hop Portal/Forum dedicated to the World's Hip-Hop (North and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia).

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